Pew Pew Laser Blog

Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

Past Blogs

Favorite Final Fantasys.

2.28.2010

I shall now list the primary Final Fantasy games that I've played, in order of how much I like them. Oh, and do I really have to say "spoiler alert" for a 10 year old video game? Fine. Spoiler alert!

  1. Final Fantasy VI (aka Final Fantasy III on SNES): I played this in it's original incarnation on the SNES. As a kid, my primary home never had a SNES. But we did have one during visitation weekends at our dad's. I would rent the cartridge over and over again, and hope that my save game hadn't been deleted.
  2. Final Fantasy X-2: I enjoyed this immensely. The job-based leveling system was rewarding and strategic, and I also enjoyed all of the flashy girly costume changes. The only problem I had was the foolishness of the plot; the adventure centered on searching for a lost boyfriend, who may have been just a dream. I suppose it's a tad more unique than searching for a Princess.
  3. Final Fantasy IX: This featured yet another implementation of the "job" system, which has always been my favorite kind of character building system. FF IX was also hilarious.
  4. Final Fantasy VIII: While VIII didn't have the most interesting system for leveling up, it's story was excellent. It was tremendously mature and compared to its predecessors, and had one incredibly poignant scene on a spaceship that made me cry just a little.
  5. Final Fantasy XII: This is pretty fun, but I haven't had time to finish it yet. I do like that the main character isn't not the central character to the story; the epic tale simply unfolds around him. I like the unique battle system, where I can just program the characters with actions to take under certain circumstances.
  6. Final Fantasy IV (aka Final Fantasy II on the SNES): To this day, I miss having 5 characters in my party at once. And remember when Kain left the party and took his equipment?!? What a jerk.
  7. Final Fantasy III: I played the recent version DS, and enjoyed the completely flexible characters and their jobs. The old school difficulty on this version kicked my butt without regular level-grinding. As is always the case with games requiring Wifi friends, I was disappointed that I didn't have any wifi friends so that I could earn the special wifi-only job.
  8. Final Fantasy I: This first Final Fantasy was charming and pleasant, but just not terribly deep. Also, these early FFs really could hand you your ass.
  9. Final Fantasy II: I played a pretty authentic port of this on the Final Fantasy Origins disc. One quirk was that instead of leveling up, your characters gained abilities based on what they did during battles. IE, if a character got hurt during the battle, they would earn a higher max HP value. I confess, I loved whomping my characters so that they would get stronger. I can't remember if I finished it; I should really pick it up again.
  10. Final Fantasy V: I played this in the PS1 remake Final Fantasy Collection. I never finished, because one of my characters is stuck doing something wacky (I think it's a bug, rather than a curse). I should look into that.
  11. Final Fantasy X: Rather like FF VII, FFX was epic and engrossing at its time, as it aged, I just don't remember it fondly.
  12. Final Fantasy VII: By the time I played this on the Playstation 2, I had already known that Aeris was going to die, and couldn't wait for her to get on with it. It was revolutionary for its time, but doesn't have any special nostalgia for me.

Adult Self Motivation.

2.26.2010

The husband had a pretty good idea last year. For each unpleasant task he completed, he rewarded himself with $1 to $5 (depending on the task). He could then use that money to buy photo gear.

In general, he could just go out and buy things he wanted. But there is always that guilt factor; we keep thinking "I should save that money." By completing an unpleasant task, he has earned that reward.

Eventually, this little bit of incentive can help build a habit of doing those unpleasant things that still need to get done.

Glass Cactus Pumpkins.

2.21.2010

Two Glass Pumpkins These are the two pumpkins I made at a Seattle Glassblowing Studio's Pumpkin Making Workshop last October. During this 4 hour workshop, instructors showed me and 5 other people how to work with glass and create the pumpkins. Because I'd had a wee bit of prior experience, I skipped the paperweight part went straight to working on pumpkins.

I love glass pumpkins; I think they're my favorite form. To make a proper pumpkin, the gaffer uses a mold to put the ridges in the pumpkin, and flattens the bubble to the squat pumpkin shape. The assistant (or in this case, the instructor) prepares the stem in a mold, and twists it around a pipe to make the curly stem.

Unfortunately, these pumpkins weren't quite perfect. The taller one got a too long jackline, so I couldn't squat it correctly. Then we put the stem on a bit too hot, and it ended up looking like a cactus. The second one came out a little better; I was able to flatten the piece. The stem was again, a bit too hot, and made a big giant connection on the top of the pumpkin.

I later caught several other pumpkin "blow your own" events, and those came out much better. But I do plan to do a pumpkin workshop if available later this year.

Attention Corporate and Institutional System Admins and IT Policy Makers.

2.18.2010

Internet Explorer is a 9 year old piece of software. It's doing pretty well for such an old collection of 1s and 0s. I wouldn't expect a developer to maintain an application this old, especially an application which was free in the first place. Microsoft does still patch IE6; though perhaps not as quickly as one would like.

Simply "grandfathering" software inside corporate certification policies doesn't seem like a good idea. Threats have evolved in the past decade, but IE6 has not. It is a huge security risk; far beyond simple stuff like popups and spyware. Recent highly sophisticated hacks stole source code from Google and breached over 30 other enterprise networks, including Adobe. IE6 was a major point of entry for these hackers. They knew precisely what they were looking for, and how to get it.

If I were responsible for corporate network security, not only would demand modern web applications; I would ban IE6 from usage, and probably IE7 too.

GoDaddy's Superbowl Ads.

2.13.2010

GoDaddy's Superbowl ads are a 4 year old incident turned into a multimedia campaign. I really wish they'd just get over it.

Outlandish CEO Bob Parsons has said these ads are effective at driving traffic to the GoDaddy site. But I wonder how much of that traffic is converting traffic. How many of those folks who came to the site to see boobies also end up registering a domain or buying web hosting services? Is there really a large segment of the population who wants to see boobies and buy domains, but aren't satisfying their boobie-seeing-desires elsewhere on the internet?

I also find the ads tasteless and irritating. The only values these ads promote are traditional beauty; often at the cost of intelligence. What cachet is there to being a GoDaddy girl?

GoDaddy had better hope that irritated female web developers are a small segment of their actual customers. As a current customer, I'm considering voting with my wallet. What domain registration, and very cheap hosting, can you recommend?

1 comment(s).

The Technologist Effect.

2.11.2010

I was thinking about the Conan O'Brien situation. Coco likely had a younger and more technically sophisticated audience than JayLo. A high percentage of this savvy audience may well have been recording Coco's show to watch later, rather than watching live. This behavior would have a very high influence on the 'follower effect' that so many affiliates were complaining about.

Also, Conan's last shows were some of the funniest I seen in any time slot recently. I can't wait to see what Conan and his crew do next.

The Save Icon.

2.7.2010

I wonder if, within this decade, the majority of computer users won't recognize the common Save iconography. That small floppy disk icon has evolved from a 5 1/4 (Remember those? They were, in fact, floppy.) to 3 1/2 inchers and zip disks. That Save icon no longer seems to represent modern storage media. Perhaps it should be a USB drive, or a memory card?

Or is the very concept of Save, of writing to a disk, obsolete? My PDA never requires a formal save; it simply saves every change. Web apps 'Save' (update the database field) when you submit your change.

Gaming For The Win.

2.4.2010

Check out this article on Madden in the NFL. Not John Madden the man, per se, but Madden NFL the video game. A realistic enough simulation such as this allows players to get to that 10,000 hours of experience without the physical punishment of time on the field.

Several years ago, the husband used to win 98% of our cribbage games. Then I took a few terms of night classes at the community college. The bus ride to and fro was nearly an hour each way, and I would pass the time playing cribbage against an insanely good AI on my PDA. When husband and I play cribbage now, it's anybody's game.

I better start practicing Settlers of Catan and Carcassone on the Xbox. Is there an electronic version of Dominion? I'm embarrassingly bad at all of those games.

Better yet, how about a glassblowing simulator? I'm sure this could be done on the Wii; the Wiimote has a very sensitive gyroscope and the Wii Speak has a microphone. By no means would a glassblower's bench and rails be the silliest Wii peripheral out there. It sure would save me a lot of money in shop fees.

Hey Luigi, make a-me a punty.

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